Scales: C Natural Minor

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Why is the Natural Minor Scale called “natural? Perhaps it is because the “Natural Minor” is the minor scale that the key signature for tonal minor music is based on. How this makes this scale “natural” is debatable, but that’s what the people who made the rules decided to call it.

C Natural Minor Scale: Notation & Keyboard Layout…



Comparative Scale Study: Compare the C Natural Minor Scale to the C Major Scale and notice that…

  • Mi becomes Me (both start with the letter M… Me = “Mi flat”).
  • La becomes Le (both start with the letter L… Le = “La flat”).
  • Ti becomes Te (both start with the letter T… Te = “Ti flat”).

Comparative Ear Training: Mi is the defining note that makes music sound major and Me is the defining note that makes music sound minor. Play and sing the “bottom three” notes of the Major scale (Do Re Mi) and Minor scale (Do Re Me) side by side. Be sure to sustain each note long enough for the “bright” sound/feeling of Mi and the “dark” sound/feeling of Me to really sink in. Notice how these notes dramatically define the sound, feeling, and character of their respective scales. Do the same comparative listening between LaLe and TiTe.

Ear Training

Reading and singing the Solfege syllables out loud is a very effective way to internalize the unique sound-feeling of each note in a musical scale.  Here are are some suggested patterns for doing so…

C Natural Minor Scale: Linear





Tip: It is absolutely essential that you sing these out loud.

C Natural Minor Scale: Do-X-Do




Tip: At first, it’s okay to play the notes on the piano as you sing, but the ultimate goal is to be able to hear-feel each note in your mind’s ear without help from your instrument.

C Natural Minor Scale: Broken Thirds





Tip: It is critically important that you play and sing these studies slowly enough to allow the sound-feelings to make an impression on your mind’s ear.

C Natural Minor Scale: Triplets





Tip: Do not try to hear the interval between successive notes. It’s okay if you do, but be receptive to the unique sound-feeling of each note with respect to the key center Do.

C Natural Minor Scale: Diatonic Triads





Tip: Many other patterns are possible as well, but at this point your time is better spent going right to the kinds of music that YOU want to play for your study-practice material.


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